Bus driver shortage continues to impact Michigan schools

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Schools across the country continue to experience a bus driver shortage due to the pandemic.

Eaton Rapids Superintendent Bill DeFrance says they literally have no backup drivers.

“We’ve had to tell people ‘find a way to get your child to school,'” said DeFrance.

He says they need at least 6 more bus drivers to operate at normal capacity.

“We’re not happy about it, parents aren’t happy about it.”

He constantly hears complaints from parents.

But what can he do? It takes a while to find a bus driver who is a good fit and training takes 6 to 8 weeks.​​

“You would need to spend hours driving and doing practice tests and then they have to pass the test to be able to get their CEO license,” said DeFrance.

They are using social media, advertising and hiring events to get more bus drivers.

Like other school districts, Eaton Rapids has a strong partnership with dean transportation who provides bus drivers to public schools statewide.

“We’re working daily to recruit folks that are interested in being a part of a school system, part of a solution, part of getting kids back in-person instruction.”

Patrick Dean the vice president of Dean Transportation says it varies by region, but they need to hire 100 bus drivers statewide.

“We’re working every day and seeing increases in applicants since the first of September. We’re working through those new trainees right now to get them ready to go on the road,” said Dean.

And for DeFrance, it gives him some hope.

“We would like to have anywhere between 2 and 6 sub drivers than that would help us not only in the day-to-day transporting of kids, but curriculum events like sports.”

If you are interested in applying to become a bus driver, click here.

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